There Is a Green Hill Far Away
If ever there was a phrase designed to evoke images in the mind of a child, it’s that one. I think the author, Cecil Frances Alexander, intended it to be so since it was first published in her work, “Hymns for Little Children”.
It certainly evoked images for me, though the “green hill” of my imagination was nothing like the reality. Still, it served the purpose and helped my wandering mind to remember Jesus during the Sacrament.
As an adult, it’s still my favorite of the hymns we use for our Sacrament services. (I’m apparently not alone, since it has now been published in many hundreds of hymnals worldwide.) It’s the hymn I turn to most often to keep my mind focused on the sacrifice of our Savior and his love for me.
The version in our hymn book contains four verses. The author penned five. The omitted verse is beautiful, but the meter makes it awkward (though not impossible) to include in a hymn setting:
For this version of “There Is a Green Hill Far Away,” I have set the four commonly-used verses to a new tune that’s been pestering me for… oh… ten years or so. It gets a bit embarrassing to sift through my old to-do lists and see the same entry transferred over that many times. On the other hand, somehow it feels like a bigger accomplishment when I finally get to cross it off! 🙂 Here’s a recording of the solo version, featuring Tj Larsen on vocals and Jana Hanni on violin:
There is also an SATB version available. You’ll notice that I altered verse three just a smidge. Which is a thing I forbid people to do with my own lyrics. Which seems a bit cheeky. Oh well, when my lyrics enter the public domain, you may alter them with impugnity. I promise not to haunt you.
Next up: another new Christmas song.
My son was killed in a motorcycle accident last year, March 6 2017(he was 17). I had been singing this song on here for a few weeks prior just for fun. My stake music lady insisted I sing at the memorial, and I knew this was the song. I have always loved this hymn, but I had particularly become close to this arrangement and wow. It was powerful. I have never sung anything with such feeling and such meaning. I am extremely grateful to know that you had been holding onto it, and somehow it got done just at the right time for me to be able to sing it on a day that I needed it the most. On March 6th this year, I looked at this music, but I wasn’t ready to sing, or even think about it. Until right now. I was led here via another song. I am grateful for you sharing your gift so freely. I sang with a non member the other day, and he was impressed.
Kati, I am so sad to hear that, and I am full of awe and admiration that *you* were able to sing at his memorial service. That’s no easy task. Thank you so much for sharing this. I know it can’t have been easy to write about it, but I really am thankful that you did. You have made me more grateful for Heavenly Father’s hand in our lives. His timing really is perfect, even if I sometimes tend to grumble about it.
You have been so kind over the years, and left me such nice comments, that I’ve wished I could meet you. Now I wish you lived next door so I could cry with you instead of just replying from here behind a stupid computer screen. It’s hard to even know what to say, and I undoubtedly got it wrong (I usually do), but I hope you continue to heal, and continue to sing. Hugs from far away… <3 <3 <3
This arrangement is just beautiful. Thanks for sharing.
Oh, so beautiful!